Off-field drama doesn't often affect betting lines, but it can be pretty fun.
There have been stories suggesting that when Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer were New York Mets teammates, they weren't the best of friends. Scherzer denied there were any problems in the Mets clubhouse, but whatever happened, the Mets failed spectacularly this season. Verlander was shipped to the Houston Astros before the deadline, and Scherzer went to the Texas Rangers.
They're slated to face off Wednesday. The Rangers, with Scherzer on the mound, are -125 favorites over Verlander and the Astros at BetMGM.
The Rangers were big buyers at the deadline, but the bullpen maybe needed more work. Texas' bullpen has been a problem for more than a month, and it makes it tough to bet on them. Scherzer could give the Rangers six or seven good innings, but then bettors are hanging on for dear life for the final outs.
The Astros have had a couple of good wins to start the series. After being swept by the New York Yankees over the weekend, Houston rebounded to beat the Rangers 13-6 on Monday and 14-1 on Tuesday. Jose Altuve had five homers in those two games, including three in the first three innings Tuesday.
The Rangers don't want to fall too far back in the AL West race, and the past two days have been brutal for them. This is the type of spot in which their investment in Scherzer needs to pay off. He'll be battling a familiar foe Wednesday.
Here's the first look at the sports betting slate for Wednesday:
MLB has 6 afternoon games
There are some key games this afternoon in MLB. The Milwaukee Brewers are trying to hold on to first place in the NL Central, and they start the day with an early game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Milwaukee, with red-hot Freddy Peralta on the mound, is a -190 favorite.
The Chicago Cubs are chasing the Brewers but are also in the wild-card race. They face the San Francisco Giants, one of the teams in the wild-card race. The Cubs, who rallied for a big win Tuesday, are -150 favorites.
Also, the Philadelphia Phillies face the San Diego Padres. The Phillies, led by an offense that was fantastic in August but was surprisingly shut out Tuesday, have been pretty good lately. While they're in good shape in the wild-card race, they don't want to lose any ground. They're -115 favorites Wednesday.
One WNBA game
There's one WNBA game on the schedule, and it's the Seattle Storm at the Atlanta Dream. Unfortunately, it's a matchup between two sub-.500 teams. The Dream are 8.5-point favorites.
What's the best bet?
I am surprised the Phillies were so flat Tuesday. Trea Turner going on the paternity list didn't help, but that didn't explain everything in an 8-0 loss to the Padres. I'm willing to give them a pass and go right back on Philadelphia as a small favorite Wednesday.